The Department of Conservation (DOC) is offering the public a chance to help celebrate the Milford Track’s 125th anniversary by joining a Heritage Walk of this world-famous attraction.
On 31 October 2013 a party of 40 people, led by DOC Fiordland ranger Ken Bradley, will embark on an insightful historical journey.
“From the claws of the once prolific kākāpō, to early Māori accessing Milford and European explorers who ‘discovered’ and subsequently sought to share this route’s beauty with the world—meet the characters, experience how life was and undertake an expedition you will never forget amongst some of New Zealand’s grandest scenery,” says Mr Bradley.
“The party will include expert guides, many of whom form part of the track’s history themselves. Their stories and experiences will detail the area’s past, culture and biodiversity.”
Quintin Mackinnon discovered a passage between the head of Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound. The route became known as the Milford Track. Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library
Minister of Conservation, Hon Nick Smith, will also be in attendance and there are limited spaces available for the public.
The walk is a fundraiser towards the reconstruction of the historic Beech Hut to recreate the style and atmosphere of early huts and tell the story of the Milford Track’s rich history.
Original Beech Hut. Photo: Hocken Library
In addition to the heritage walk, visual collections of early memorabilia, photos and stories will be displayed throughout this year’s Great Walk Season (29 October 2013 to 30 April 2014) in huts and the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre.
“The Department wishes to give walkers insight into what captivates and lures people to the famed Milford Track,” says Mr Bradley.
“Many enjoy New Zealand’s Great Walks as a personal and physical challenge or for the special opportunities they provide to engage with New Zealand’s native biodiversity and wilderness. Heritage is another layer contributing to the unique character and charm that makes the Milford Track ‘the finest walk in the world’.”
The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks.
New Zealand's nine Great Walks are premier tracks that pass through diverse and spectacular scenery. From native forests, lakes and rivers to rugged mountain peaks, deep gorges and vast valleys...there's a Great Walk for everyone!